Memphis Belle

To log onto UNITYINCHRIST.COM’S BLOG, Click Here
Unity in Christ
About the Author
Does God Exist?

The Book of Acts
the Prophets & Prophecy

Song of Solomon

OT History
Early Church History
Church History
Sabbatarian Heritage
The Worldwide Church Of God
Messianic Believers

America-Modern Romans

Latin-American Poverty

Ministry Principles

Topical Studies
Guest Book
Utility Pages
Share on Facebook
Tell a friend:

Mark 6-10 Continued...

"Five Loaves and Two Fish"

Mark 6:30-56

Beginning with verse 30 of Mark chapter 6, "Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And he said to them, 'Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.' For there were many coming and going and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. But the multitudes saw them departing and many knew him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to him. And Jesus, when he came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came to him and said, 'This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves bread, for they have nothing to eat.' But he answered and said to them, 'You give them something to eat.' And they said to him, 'Shall we go and buy two hundred denari worth of bread and give them something to eat?' But he said to them, 'How many loaves do you have? Go and see.' And when they found out they said, 'Five, and two fish.' Then he commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them, and the two fish he divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men" (Mark 6:30-44).

Here you read, the apostles, disciples gathered to Jesus. And as we studied last week, the disciples were sent out sort of on their first missionary journey. They'd been spending time with Jesus, and for the first time he sends them out on their own. And now they've gathered back to him after some time and they began to just share with him all the things they had done and all the things they had seen and the things they had taught. And no doubt it was an awesome experience for them to go out and just see God work as you'd read there before and earlier in chapter six, they went out and they healed the sick as God gave them power to heal the sick. And the saw demons cast out of people. So they took this step of faith. And now they've seen God do a great work. So they've come back to Jesus and certainly it's been an awesome experience as they share the great stories and reports. And in verse 31, Jesus tells the disciples--we don't know how long it's been, it's been some amount of time--but he says, "Go and get some rest. Go to a deserted place." Because the people just kept coming. As Jesus has been ministering, we're at least at the mid-point of Jesus' ministry, people from all around, from far away, as we continue into Mark chapter 7, have heard about him, and heard about the great work that he's doing. Not only is he teaching the Word of God, but also he's performing great miracles. Paralytics have been healed and blind have been healed so they've gone back to their communities and they're all amazed from what they see, so multitudes and multitudes just continue to come. And Jesus knows that and sees just the toll it's taking and just the--it's taken a lot upon the disciples. He says to the disciples, "Let's get in the boat and go and get some rest." And the people just keep coming and coming. So in verse 32, they get in the boat and depart to a deserted place. As you see there and as you see in other parts of the Bible, no doubt it's important for us to get rest as we minister. It's important for us to go and get refreshed and get renewed. It's important to Jesus, he tells the disciples to go and get refreshed. It's without a doubt, you and I can become weary and burned out if we don't go and get some rest, sometimes due to the never-ending need. You know, I shared earlier in the first service, man, there's great need around us, our communities and our families and with our friends. And no doubt as we continue to meet needs you can get spent out and get tired. And sometimes pressured, you know, to go 24-7, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because there's just so much need and you feel you just can't stop. I don't know about you, but when I sit down, there's times when I feel guilty for sitting down and taking a moment to rest. I know my wife does when it comes to doing things around the house. But that's not what God desires for us. He desires for us to rest. He wants us to work hard, but he wants us to take a break, get refreshed and get renewed. In fact, in Exodus 23 when God instituted the Sabbath, he instructed the Israelites, he said, 'Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, the son of your servant and the stranger may be refreshed.' God instructed his people to go and get some rest--take some time out and get some rest, but not only for themselves but also for those that are around them, even for their animals. He says 'Hey, take a break.' 'Give the ox a rest and give your wife a rest and your kids.' You know for some of the guys here this morning, they're just work-aholics. You need to take some rest now and then--if not for yourself, at least for your wife and kids and family, they need rest. It's good to rest and get renewed. It's good to rest indeed, but at the same time it's important to know that we need to be cautious about idleness. Rest is important, but also we need to know that idleness is not good. We know that David, king David, when he had some extended downtime, it was at that time when he was on the roof of the palace and lusting after another man's wife, and it was at that time when he really fell pretty hard. And if you allow a lot of idleness in your life, you're going to find that at times you're up to no good because you just had a lot of time on you hands and the enemy came in there and tempted you and you did some things you wish you hadn't done. And a good guard, and we can set a guard, is to just get busy doing God's work. Get busy just doing his work and letting that consume your thoughts and your time. Take the time to rest for sure, but don't be idle. Idleness results in low productivity, physical productivity, spiritual productivity--and Solomon told us in Proverbs, and he said, "The soul of a lazy man desires and has nothing, but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich." So indeed, the Bible exhorts us to work hard and to be diligent. But yet at the same time, to take a break and to rest and be renewed.

Jesus in verse 33, "And the disciples headed to a deserted place to get some rest." But by the time they get there it isn't deserted anymore. In fact, there's another large multitude waiting for them when they get there--a multitude waiting for them when they get there--a multitude of thousands. As they depart, some of the folks that they're ministering to see where they head, see the direction where they're going, so they decided to run along the shoreline. And as they're running along the shoreline, they stop by some villages and cities and other people get excited and by the time the boat finally gets to the point of docking there's now a huge multitude, maybe bigger than the one they left. And I don't know about you--the disciples were weary--I don't know about you, but if I were on that boat I probably would have gotten annoyed at this time. I'd start to get a little frustrated, perturbed. You know, these people, man, how inconsiderate. They decided to get in the boat to be alone a little bit so we could get some rest and here they are running around the shoreline and they're back now waiting for us when we get there. I'd be a little annoyed. I don't know about you. But Jesus, seeing this multitude, is not annoyed at all. [And don't forget, he just lost his cousin John, who was beheaded by Herod]. Neither is he perturbed, as you read there in those verses. In fact, it says, he was moved with compassion as he sees these people. He's tired, no doubt. But yet he's moved with compassion. The Greek for the word there--it says that he's moved with compassion--indicates that the emotion that he was experiencing was so deep that it was even rooted in his stomach. He could feel it in his stomach, a very deep heart for the people as they gathered there. He was moved because of their helplessness. He saw their desperate need and it's recorded there. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. They wanted answers, they had needs, but there wasn't really anyone there to help them. Of course, he came to help them, to bring life to them.

You know, I've been reading through the book of Exodus this past week, and I noted the deep compassion of God as I was reading in Exodus chapter 22. But if you remember those chapters, you may not, it's the time where God appears on Sinai to the people of Israel, as they've come out of the Red Sea. And he appears to them and begins to give to them the Law through Moses. But in the middle of the Law he made this note, and I thought it was really interesting. And I said, 'Man, God, you're so compassionate.' But God instructed the Israelites, he said this, "You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way and they cry out at all to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword. Your wives shall be widows and your children fatherless." God's instructing in this time about sharing all about the Law and about things he wanted the people of Israel to do and in the middle of this he just makes this point. 'Don't ever harm a widow and don't ever harm an orphan, and if you harm an orphan, and if you harm a widow' he says, 'I'm gonna come and kill you and your wife will be a widow and your kids will be orphaned.' Now as I read that, I said, "Wow! The compassion of God that he feels so strongly for orphans--you know, you think of an orphan, maybe in another country, as you watch on T.V. You know the different commercials, they're easy prey to somebody who wants to take advantage of them. Or a widow, a widow you know, that is struggling with children and just has great need. And God said to the people of Israel when he gave to them the Law, he says, "Don't ever harm a widow, and don't ever harm an orphan." My heart goes out to them. "And I tell you, you want to see my wrath, take advantage of an orphan or widow and I'll take care of you" is what he says. You know, I read that, and said, 'Wow! The compassion of God. And here Jesus [who was YHVH, the 2nd member of the Trinity who was the God-personage of the Old Testament] stands there, he finally is tired, it's been, we've read, day in and day out, of all that he's done, and now he's there and there's a great multitude of thousands. And yet he's moved with compassion for them, seeing they have needs, great needs. As I think of Exodus 22, you know I'm thankful as I see the pictures on the cartons today of missing children and different posters posted in different places, I'm thankful that God sees all that and that it doesn't go without notice, he's certainly going to take care of those who harm the orphan and the widow.

You may wonder this morning if God understands your need. You say, "I've got a need in my life. I wonder if God really understands?" You may wonder if the situation in your life that maybe you find yourself in, that God really understands or even sees the situation. But you know as you read these verses here, it's clear that God has a compassion for us, and sees the needs and the situation that we find ourselves in. In fact, Jesus is tired but he sees all these needy people and his heart is so moved with compassion for them. Well, seeing them as a sheep without a shepherd, Jesus begins to teach them. And what is the greatest need of a sheep without a shepherd? The greatest need is truth. So Jesus begins to teach them. But you know by teaching these people the truth, that's going to protect them from false teachers and having others take advantage of them. It's going to protect them and give them wisdom in making decisions and going down the right course and heading into situations that are good for them rather than bad for them. So Jesus sees their need, sheep without a shepherd, so he begins to teach them, and just gives them truth, the Word of God. Solomon exhorted his son, in Proverbs chapter 3. He said, "Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days are in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her." Solomon said, you know man, wisdom is better than rubies. Happy are those who have wisdom and gain understanding. It's just such a profit to them, that nothing else compares.

So Jesus, seeing these people who have just such great need, just need for direction--he just begins to teach them wisdom. And indeed there's nothing better than to know the truth.

Well it's now late, as you read in verse 35-37. It's late in the day. And the disciples come to Jesus and they exhort him to dismiss this crowd of people. Because it's been a long day and they're hungry. They haven't had a meal in awhile, so the disciples say, 'Hey Jesus, you know, get rid of this crowd for awhile so they can go to the villages and go to the stores and get something to eat.' I mean, these people are so desperate that they're in the wilderness. Evidently you know, the Sea of Galilee was about four miles across at this point, and about eight miles along the shore, so they've had an eight mile run anyway. And then they're standing there with Jesus. They're tired and hungry in the heat of the day, and it's getting late in the day, so the disciples do what you and I would probably do and say, "Hey Jesus, let these people go and eat. I mean, they just want to hear your words, but send 'em away, dismiss them so they can get some food." Well Jesus gives a very interesting response. In response to his disciples he says, "You give 'em something to eat." "You feed 'em." "You feed this group of 5, 8, 10 thousand people." Well, the disciples respond, maybe as I would respond, they basically say, "WHAT!?! That would cost 200 dinari to feed all these people. Hey boss, you know how much we get paid, it would take about eight month's wage to feed all these people. Come on, we don't have that kind of money to feed these people. That's impossible, too big of a task." Well Jesus is getting at a point. He then asks them, he says, "Go and see how many loaves you have." Well, when you put all the gospel accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John together, you kind of get the whole picture. All four accounts share about this situation. But taking from the gospel of John, Andrew then brings a small boy to Jesus who has five small barley loaves and two fish, and he says to Jesus, "Well, this is all we found, five loaves and two fish." And that ain't gonna do it either. He says that in the book of John. This can't take care of this crowd. It could give 'em a little teaser maybe. Well Jesus then commands the disciples to make all the people sit down in groups. The people are organized then in groups of 100's and 50's. You could just picture them on the green grass in colored clothing, it looked like a flower garden as they're all sitting in little circles, 5, 8, 10 thousand people. And with that, Jesus then takes the loaves, five loaves, two fish, looks up to heaven, blesses and breaks the loaves and he gives them to the disciples and then they take the pieces and they give them to different people. Incredibly you read in verse 42 that all the people eat and they're all satisfied. The Greek would actually suggest, in the tense of the Greek, that they're full, I mean, they've had plenty to eat. And so Jesus takes the five loaves and two fish and breaks them, gives them pieces, gives them a piece and just keeps giving them out. It isn't like these people had a little nibble. The people have eaten a lot, all from five loaves and two fish. Well Jesus wants to make sure the disciples understand the point. Then we read in John, he says to them, "Get some baskets and go gather up the fragments." So they gather up the fragments and amazingly there's one basket for every disciple. There's twelve baskets, full to the top, of fragments left over. Not only did eight thousand, ten thousand people eat from these five loaves and two fish, but when you get the fragments, they've got twelve baskets of fragments of just the overflow of the stuff left over.

Why do you think Jesus decided to perform this miracle in this manner? You know, he could have just ordered McDonalds truck to show up or something, or a caravan of produce people to show up and feed the people or something. Or he could have just given them a ton of money. Why did he go about it this way? Why do you think? Well John I think gives us the answer in John's account, the gospel of John. Jesus is recorded there, as the multitude began to come towards them, Jesus actually turns to Phillip. And we don't have it here, but we have it in the other account, he says directly to Phillip, he says, "Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?" He actually begins to tease Phillip a little bit. He knows what they're kind of thinking and where they're at, but he's trying to make a point. Then John records for us in verse 6 of chapter 6, "But this he said," that is Jesus said to him, "said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do." He was just testing the disciples, testing their heart, testing their faith, that's why he did it this way. The disciples, you know, have come back from this missionary journey. They've seen Jesus do some great miracles, they've seen Jesus work through them to heal the sick. I mean, it would be amazing to pray for some guy that's a paralytic and see him walk. They've seen Jesus work through them to cast out demons out of people. So they've come back, they're excited, they've seen all these miracles. Certainly they've been learning that Jesus isn't just a prophet, he isn't just a teacher, he isn't just a guy with a philosophy--that he also has the ability to do miracles, has tremendous power. But they still don't fully understand the truth of who he is. That he's the Son of God, that he's Divine, that he's come from heaven, that he's God's Son. So they don't understand that yet. So Jesus is still testing them, to teach them who he is. So he just continues to test them. The better answer I think Phillip could have given, that Jesus was trying to get at, an answer like this, and that would be, "Hey Phillip, how are we going to get some food for these folks?" Phillip could have just said to him, "Hey, you're the Son of God, you're the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Jesus, man, we've seen you raise the dead, we've seen you heal the sick. Hey, you can feed these people. Hey, you can even use me, you used me to pray for some guy the other day and he couldn't talk and then he was talking or he was demon possessed and was delivered. Hey, you used me before. You could even use me to feed these people, Jesus. Certainly you're the Son of God." Well, that wasn't the understanding completely yet of the disciples. So Jesus is testing them. You know when he sent them out on the last missionary journey, he said, "Take just a staff, don't take clothes, don't take food, because I want to show you that as you go out from day to day to community to community, I'm going to provide for you." And they've had that experience too. Yet when it comes to feeding a multitude, they don't quite understand how it can be done. They don't believe that Jesus can do it I guess. You know, personally, I'm not interested in any man's philosophy. I'm not going to invest my time in some guy's cute or clever teaching about life. But I do want to serve God with my life. I do want to serve my Creator. And Jesus is showing the disciples that 'Hey, I'm not just some Mohammed, or Buddha that's come just to teach this or that. I've come because I'm the Son of God. I've come to give life and give hope. So he's showing, he's teaching them about his power and about why he's come, and what he can do. He didn't just come with some warm and fuzzy teaching. He came to give life.

The disciples counted everything up. Jesus said, "Hey, how are you going to feed these guys?" and "Why don't you do it?" and they counted it all up and they forgot to include Jesus. I guess you could say they forgot to include the J-factor, you know. They added it all up, "You've got five dinari, you've got five fish, we've got a couple other little coins, we've got some juice over here. Well we've got eight thousand people over here--we can't do it. Added it all up, not possible." But they forgot to include Jesus. In fact, the presence of Jesus with them seemed not to make a difference to them when they considered the solution here to this problem. Maybe today you find yourself in a similar situation. You've got five loaves, you've got two fish, whatever that might mean in your life, and you've got this great big need in front of you. And maybe you're in a situation in your life, like you know "Five loaves and two fish doesn't add up. This need is too big for me, I can't, I don't know what I'm gonna do. It's kind of desperate." Have you counted it all up? Maybe you've looked in the bank, maybe consulted all of man's methods, and you're in despair because the situation is too big. Maybe you forgot to include Jesus in the whole calculation. You know with God -mathematics, one plus one is not two with Jesus, that's for sure. When God created the heavens and the earth, he created the order that's here. He's outside of mathematics. He's outside of time. He's not constrained by any of those elements. Are you in a situation and Jesus is there with you and you just haven't included him in the whole solution? I believe God has got you right where he wants you. He's put you in a situation to test you so that you'd learn about the character of God. So that you'd learn that Jesus is real. You know what, when I first became a Christian, indeed, it took a step of faith. I had to, you know, you can't see God. The Bible says this. I've never heard God's voice audibly. So I had to take a step of faith. But in being a Christian now, for the years I've been a Christian, especially in ministering here in New England, I am so certain of the existence of God, I don't need to see Jesus, I am so sure he's close to me, I don't doubt it for a moment. Just because of all the power he's worked in my life and in the situation around me. He's just so real, I don't doubt it for a moment. And God has brought me through difficult situations to test me too, to show me that, "Hey, you're in a situation that man can't handle. But are you going to trust me to deal with this environment or situation?" and I've seen God do it. And I know he's real. I don't doubt it for a moment. And it's just beautiful to see the things that he has done.

You know you look here at Jesus and the feeding of the five thousand, and you can't help but think of God and the Israelites. You know the Israelites, they saw the plagues. As God brought the Israelites out of Egypt they saw all those plagues, saw even Moses take his staff and it became a serpent. All these things, they saw all these miracles that God said he would do, and he indeed did. And then they come out of Egypt and then they come to the Red Sea and God divides the Red Sea, and they go through the Red Sea, and there's walls of water. And they walk through and they're looking at walls of water. And there's a cloud around them and they get through the Red Sea and they see the Red Sea cave in on the largest army in the world and destroy all these great chariots--600 chariots and all these great army men--saw all that and they get to this body of water and they see God make this body of water sweet so they could drink, then they go a little bit further, and in Exodus chapter 16, verse 22--this is what we read: "Oh that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full. For you brought us into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." I mean, they go there a little bit more and it's been a day or two and they're hungry and they're like, "Oh God, how could you do this to us? You know you brought us out here, you're going to starve us." And you know, God has been doing all these miracles in their lives. And they've seen them, they don't doubt it, and yet they can't seem to trust God for the meal that they needed at that moment, in Exodus 16. Have you ever been there before? God's working answer to prayer and then when it comes to the next little test you just lose it? You know, "Oh, what am I going to do? Oh Lord, Lord" --you know. "God, you've failed me" or whatever. We're people of little faith. Well as you read in Exodus, God responds by raining bread from heaven. Basically the manna comes, covers the ground for forty years. God feeds millions of Israelites for forty years in the desert. Certainly, he can provide for you. In whatever situation you find yourself in, certainly he can do it. Fed for forty years, two million Israelites in the desert.

Jesus, I think he included his disciples to see how he distributes the food, and you get a better picture as you put all the accounts together. He actually does, he takes the bread, he takes the fish and breaks it and then he gives the pieces to the disciples and the disciples give to the people. Jesus doesn't give directly to them, he just continues to hand it to the disciples so that the disciples are right in the midst of this whole miracle that's transpiring. "Something's going on here. You know, I know he only has five loaves, but we've made a lot of trips already, and he keeps just giving me bread. And he keeps giving me fish. And I thought there were only two fish, but I think that I've counted at least a hundred that I've distributed." It just keeps happening, they keep going back and he just keeps doing it and doing it. But he had them feel every piece, had them feel every fish, look at every piece of bread so that they would certainly see and get a sense of what's going on as he did this. Yet as God works, it happened very naturally. When I was studying last night, you know the fireworks were going off in our neighborhood, you know, the big booms and the bright lights. And so often that's what we want to see. "God, I want to hear the big boom" you know. "I want to see the flashing light." But yet Jesus and God, works supernaturally and yet very naturally. It's happening right under your nose. The fish are multiplying, the bread is multiplying--just so naturally it's happening. And the disciples kind of miss some of it. They know a miracle's happened, but things still don't register as you go on in the text. God doesn't always choose the method that we desire. He's not some little slot-machine for us to come up and push his buttons and you know--I want this, I want that. He doesn't work that way. But he does choose the method that will clearly show you and I that he is God and that he is our Provider. He's working to teach us to trust him. He's testing our faith. With the Israelites he rained bread from heaven, he provided manna, and he told them, if you remember, you know, "Gather manna, but don't gather any extra for the next day because when you get up the next morning it's gonna spoil." And of course the Israelites, just like us, what do they do? They go get extra. He told them not to, but they do, and the very next day it spoils, there's worms, it's just all gross and there's a stench. So they learned, all right. But then he says, "I'm gonna change the rules here a little on you, on the sixth day--I've told you to rest on the seventh day--so on the sixth day I want you to go out in the morning when the dew goes away and the manna's there, the supernatural manna, on the ground. I want you to gather twice as much. And on the seventh day there's not going to be any. So you need to gather twice as much, you need to rest, and you need to provide for the following day." So what do the Israelites do? They don't gather enough, they go out on the seventh day and there's not any there, just as God told them. And God is just teaching them, but God even changed the rules on them. And with the Israelites he was making it so clear to them--"I AM THE PROVIDER. Not only am I going to rain bread from heaven, you can't pick up more than you need, but on the sixth day I want you to pick up twice as much because there won't be any on the seventh." He's just showing them that he is the provider. He fed them that way for forty years. Yet so often they still weren't getting it.

You know today there are many needs about us in the community, many needs about us even in this church and our families and our friends. I guess you could say, as Jesus said, there are many sheep without shepherds. Can you and I, can we trust God to use us, our five loaves and our two fish, to meet the many needs that we see? Can we trust God? I was in a meeting recently, with a school system. There's a particular young man that just was struggling and because of that his grades were struggling so there was this meeting. I was asked to be a part of it. The family met with the principle of the local school and vice principle and a counselor. So I was part of this meeting and we were just discussing this person's situation as he was struggling through school, and what we're going to do. And as this meeting was transpiring I asked the counselor of all this town school system, and he seemed like a neat man, but I asked him this question I said, "You know, I'm 33 years of age, but when I was in High School it seemed to me kids could read better than they can today. As a pastor and my interaction with kids it seems that there are a lot of kids that can't read today. What's up with that? Why can't kids read today?" Well this man responded, he said, "You know, when you went to High School there were 20 students per teacher in the school." He said, "Today there's 30 students per teacher." He said the problem is bigger than us. We can only do what we can do. So the teaching environment isn't as effective as it was." He just told me that the problem's too big. Well then as this meeting continued I sat there quietly. I listened to the parents tell the school, you know, that they were concerned that the school was failing, then I listened to the school tell the parents that they were failing. And both of them began to talk about it. I just sat there and watched as they talked. You know, they were talking about the videos, they were talking about the T.V., they were talking about all these things. "You know, we can only do what we can do, but our society is just so influential and it's just influencing the kids. And they all were admitting--I just listened--that the problem was too big for them. And the truth is, the problem is too big. There's no doubt that in some of America the family structure is just coming apart--the dumbing down of America. We've got kids today who can't read. But you know, I believe it's opportunity for the Church, because God is still God. God still takes five loaves and two fish and he still multiplies them...

...You know, you just take love and give love to a young person today--how it impacts their life. Today young people are being ripped off in many ways. They're not hearing about God, they're not hearing about hope, and they're not even getting educated today. You know, as Christians God has given us love, his power, we can go out, man, and just love some kids and watch the loaves multiply and fish multiply. God can take five loaves and two fish and multiply them. Are you willing and able to take the faith and trust and to do it? Because God will test you in it.

Paul remarked about Jesus. He said, "And Jesus said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities and reproaches and needs and persecutions and distresses for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Paul said, "I don't have much, but man, the power of God will work through me." Again Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter four, verse seven, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, our bodies, that the essence of the power may be of God and not of us." People look at you and say, "Man, you don't have a whole lot, but look at what's going on." And they give glory to God because it's a God-thing and there's nothing else that can explain it, the work of God. I'm not interested in some philosophical system. I'm not interested in somebody's clever ideas. But I'm interested in serving my God and my Creator. And Jesus over and over shows us in the gospel and his Word that he is God. He didn't just teach, his Word is transforming, it's life...he raised the dead, he multiplied the five loaves and two fish so his disciples would know that he'd come to give life and to give hope.

Verses 45-56, "Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side to Bethsaida, while he sent the multitude away. And when he had sent them away, he departed to the mountain to pray. Now, when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and he was alone on the land. Then he saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw him and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them and said to them, 'Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.' Then he went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

[the pastor stopped short of expounding on what follows] When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him, ran through that whole surrounding region and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard he was. Wherever he entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might just touch the border of his garment. And as many as touched him were made well." Now this is an interesting story. They go from the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus, immediately, it says, disperses the crowd and immediately and emphatically gets the disciples into the boat and has them set sail. And the reason why he does that, we're told in John that Jesus understood that these men ran out after he did this miracle and fed them, that they wanted to make him king. The Israelites [Jews] were looking for a king, a Messiah. And Jesus is the Messiah, but Jesus came initially as a servant to save, and [he will come] later as the King to reign. But they wanted this king, kind of a political thing. They had an agenda, to get this guy here that is performing miracles and meeting needs and he a compassionate guy. 'Why don't we make him king? He can help us with our agenda and the things we want.' And Jesus knew that, and that's not why he came. So he put the disciples in the boat and immediately said "Let's set sail, man." Well he himself went up upon the mountain that was behind them there--just beautiful mountains around the Sea of Galilee--and went up there to pray. As the disciples set sail he told them to go to Bethsaida. And as they were rowing--they left at early evening--we find them in this verse here, about eight hours have gone by, it's now between 3 to 6 am in the morning, and the disciples are still out there rowing. The reason why they're rowing [and not sailing] is because there's a strong headwind and they're rowing and they're rowing, and they're rowing, and they haven't got very far. In fact, they've only made it about three to three and a half miles. Kind of frustrating. But you've got to hand it to the disciples for their determination. Jesus just said, "Go over there" and they got in there and just continued to row and row and row to get over there. And, I guess the road of disobedience would have been a little easier, to go back and find a warm bed and kick back, but they just kept rowing, and here they are in these waves and wind. Jesus said to go over to the other side, so they're going to get to the other side.

With that I think of Paul. Paul said, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on, I set for that goal, I keep on pressing on." I've been thinking about that. That thought has been stirring in my mind for a few weeks, of just pressing on, resting in the grace and power of God, yet pressing on and pressing on. Not attaining the goal (yet) but I'm going to keep working at it and setting my life for the goal.

Well Jesus is up on the mountain, these disciples are in this boat, they're straining and not making a lot of progress and in the many hours that have gone by they must be real tired by now. Yet Jesus sees them. His eye's upon them, can see them out there on the water, a few miles out, just straining and straining. And maybe you feel like that this morning. God has told you to do such and such, take such a path, whatever it might be, and you've tried it and you find yourself struggling and straining and it just isn't easy. Yet God led you to go this way and that way and you're just having the hardest time of it. [It's interesting to be typing this, knowing this very web site I'm typing this for is the assignment the Lord's put on my heart to do, and is being talked about right here in the last sentence! It hasn't been easy, but it has been exciting.] Well you can be encouraged, no doubt, as you read in Psalm 139 too, and see that God knows right where you're at, his eye's upon you. He hasn't forgotten you for a moment. In fact, he's got you in the best place you could be. Well, Jesus then, steps onto the water and amazingly walks on the water out to the disciples as they're on the boat. I can just picture what it was like, as one of the disciples looked out and saw this person on the water as the waves are going up and down. You know that would freak me out, and probably freaked that person out. You know Peter or whoever, grabbed Andrew and said, "Andrew! Check this out! I think I can see somebody out on the water. Looks like a ghost or something." And he goes, "You know, I think it is too!" Well, you know, you've got 12 disciples on one side of the boat going "WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THAT OVER THERE!?" and they start to scream and holler, you know. I don't know if God has a sense of humor, but it must have been amusing anyway for Jesus to hear these disciples as they were screaming and freaking out there on the boat. Reminds me when I was young, I was on my bike one day, it was night time. I had stayed over my friend's too late. And we were in southern Maine and I had to go from my friend's house to our house and it was through the woods, three miles, and there weren't any houses on this road and it was night time and I was like, "Oh man, I can't believe I stayed this late, and it's dark." I got on my ten-speed and started heading down this road and I don't know why, but there was a lady dressed in black walking down the middle of the road, middle of the night, you know. I'm peddling my bike and look up and see this lady, and you know, being a young teenager--like--"There's a witch!"--or--"A ghost!!" or something. I still remember that. And I started peddling as fast as I could. I was so scared. I don't know what this lady was doing, or what was going on. All I know was I was scared as I hit hyper-warp-drive on my ten-speed to get home. But the disciples are in this boat and this Jesus, which has never happened before, it's not a human thing, that's the point that Jesus is showing the disciples--he's not a man [he's both God and man, God in flesh, but having all the power of God at his beck and call, obviously]. Man can't solve all the problems of man. But here's Jesus walking on the water to them. And when he walks to the boat, he then begins to turn at an angle and acts as is he's going to walk by them. And they are just in great fear and troubled. But then he says, "Be of good cheer, it is I. Do not be afraid."

Turn in your Bibles to Isaiah 43. (We're just about done here.) I found this Scripture before. Maybe you believe you're in the right place where God wants you, and yet there's waves and struggle, there's straining. It's not easy. Be encouraged to know that God sees where you're at. But not only that, Jesus is with you. And I believe he says the same to you today. He says, "Be of good cheer, it's I, don't be afraid. I'm with you." This verse in Isaiah has been an encouragement to me at times when I find myself in difficult waters. Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, nor shall the flames scorch you, for I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour." And God said, he said, "I am your saviour. When you go through the troubled waters know that I am with you. You're not going to be consumed by the waters, you're not going to drown in the waters of life, when you go through the fires of life, you're not going to be consumed and burned." And there you see a great picture of that in Mark chapter six, as Jesus is right there with these disciples at a very straining time, one of those troubled waters times of life.

Well, he gets on the boat, and immediately the winds cease and they're in just great amazement and just marvel at what's taken place. But it says in verse 52 that they don't understand about the loaves because their heart was hardened. It's kind of a strange little note, but they didn't understand that Jesus was the Son of God. When he multiplied those fish and loaves they didn't understand exactly what was going on. But now with the walking on the water they're in just complete awe. And turn to Matthew chapter 14. Matthew writes about this account too. Verse 32, "And when they got into the boat the wind ceased." It says "they" there because Peter, you remember, in John and here in Matthew, Peter stepped off the boat, and says, "Hey Jesus, I'd like to walk out on the water." And he actually was the second person to walk on water for a moment before he got scared and sank. And sometimes the storms of life will do that to us too. We'll be in a time of despair but then as we see Christ, man, we'll find strength and even faith to do things that we didn't do before. But here, Peter and Jesus now get back into the boat, verse 32, and then verse 33, "Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped him saying, 'Truly, you are the Son of God.'" And it just began to really sink in at this point, who was with them--not just a great prophet, not just a miracle worker, not just a guy who had great teaching, but God himself had stepped off his throne to become a man who was in their boat. And they were like, "You are the Son of God." "You are Divine." It began to really sink in. Jesus tested them to show them about his character and Jesus does the same to you. He takes you through times of testing so that he can reveal his character to you as you get to that point of despair, going, "I don't understand, this is not right, I don't get it, how is this going to work out?" Well then he works it out. And you're like, "Wow! God you're real!! You're amazing! I can't believe--it was impossible for that situation to work out!" You see that's happened to me multiple times since I've been here. And that's why today I just don't need to see God. I don't need to physically see him. I see what he does in my life and how he's around me. And he's so real. You know there's times when I've been in despair and said, "How can it ever work out? I can't believe this situation. This is impossible." And God, testing my faith, says, "Don't forget, I'm here." And he works out the situation. Jesus, you're real, man. We learn about Christ and his character, as we venture into those troubled waters. You know, the disciples were the only ones to see this miracle, Jesus walking on the water, and maybe you're in a place where God is going to reveal himself to you in a very special way to teach you about his character--and the result is always that you just worship God--you worship him in awe.

Well, my conclusion is from John chapter six, verse 26. "Jesus answered them and said, 'Most assuredly I say to you, you seek me not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled..." This is a little bit later. John gives us an account where people are at Jesus' feet again, he says, "You seek me, you're like a dog, you give food to a homeless dog and you'll never get rid of him. You give food to a cat in your neighborhood, a stray cat, and that cat will be at your door everyday." He says, "You guys are like that. I fed you some bread and now you won't leave me alone. But that's the reason why, because I fed you--you've got physical desires, but no spiritual desires." He says, "Do not labor for food that perishes, but for food which endures to everlasting life which the Son of Man will give you because God the Father has set his seal upon him.' And they said to him, 'What shall we do that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he sent.' Therefore they said to him, 'What sign will you perform then that we may see it and believe you? What work will you do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert as it is written, 'He gave bread from heaven to eat.' And Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true Bread from heaven, for the Bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' And they said to him, 'Lord, give us this Bread always.' And Jesus said to them, 'I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me. And the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out...'"(John 6:27-37). Jesus kind of ties it all together a little later as he says, "You know, all this is going on, I'm trying to show you that I am the Bread of life. I'm not the means to the end, I am the end. I am the destination. You know you've gathered around me because you're seen me feed you, perform some miracles." He says, "That's not the point. What you need, is you need me, I am the Bread of life. I've come to give life. You're a sinner and the wages of sin is death. God is a righteous God, but I've come that you can be forgiven of your sin and you can know God, and have a relationship with him, and have life, abundant life, and have hope." So says Jesus, "I am the Bread of life. He who comes to me shall never be hungry, will truly be satisfied, deep in their hearts, never thirst spiritually, he says, "all you that come to me I'll by no means cast out."

Click Here To Continue To Next Page

content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
Questions or problems with the web site contact the WebServant - Hosted and Maintained by CMWH, Located in the Holy Land